At nearly forty years old, Cash Malloy has accepted that the lifestyle he and Sage, his partner both in life and on the job, live isn"t normal but is what both men need to escape the darkness of their pasts. But he also knows that Sage"s wounds run much deeper than his own and that there will come a day where what Cash can give Sage isn"t enough anymore. And after meeting the young woman Sage has become enamored with, Cash knows that day is closer than ever.
At twenty-one, Daisy Washburne has found a new life working for an underground vigilante group. To the men she works with, she"s Daisy, IT girl extraordinaire, but in the silence of her apartment she"s just awkward, quiet, weird Daisy whose computer is her best friend and whose only link to the outside world are the voices of the men she"s trying really hard not to think of as family. But it"s one voice on the other end of the phone in particular that calls to her like no other and eases just a little bit of the loneliness that has consumed her since losing her mother to a brutal act of violence.
In order to survive, Sage Brighton has had to learn how to be two different people. To most of the world, he"s happy-go-lucky, flirty, easy-going Sage. But to the one man who knows him better than anyone else, and yet still doesn"t really know who he is, Sage sees himself as nothing more than a fucked-up mess who takes more than he gives. Life without Cash isn"t even a possibility for Sage, but he can"t deny the pull young Daisy Washburne has had on him from the moment he hears her voice for the first time. Only in the deepest recesses of his mind does Sage allow for a world in which he can have both Cash and Daisy at the same time. Fortunately for Sage, the lines between fantasy and reality are miles apart " almost a thousand miles to be exact, since Daisy doesn"t live anywhere near Cash and Sage"s home in the Ozarks.
But when a chance encounter between Daisy, Cash and Sage in a motel just outside Seattle changes everything, the demons from Sage"s past threaten to derail the life he and Cash have built together. When circumstances bring the trio back together, Cash sees an opportunity to give Sage what he needs, even if it costs Cash everything he"s ever wanted. Only, he soon finds that Sage isn"t the only one drawn to the quiet young woman who"s good at being invisible. And he can"t help but wonder if maybe the key to saving Sage isn"t about Sage choosing who can give him a normal life.
Because maybe normal isn"t enough.
Just like maybe one love isn"t enough" for any of them.Books in Series:The Protectors Series by Sloane KennedyBooks by Author:Sloane Kennedy Books
"It was a nice ceremony, wasn"t it""
I spared Sage a glance before turning on the road that would lead to the small motel just a few miles from our hosts" home. I didn"t respond, since I knew Sage wasn"t actually looking for a response. And because I knew he hadn"t gotten to the subject he was itching to discuss.
Sweet, young and oh-so-innocent Daisy.
She hadn"t been at all what I"d been expecting. Of course, I hadn"t really been expecting anything since Sage was the one who had a borderline obsession with the young woman. It was probably something that should have bothered me more than it did, but there was one thing I knew about Sage better than anyone else.
Of all the qualities Sage Brighton possessed " his humor, his never-ending need to flirt, his boldness " he was, above all else, loyal to his core. It was one of the many things that had drawn me to him when we"d worked our first case together. That and his stunning good looks. The man hadn"t been anything like the guys I typically went for, but then again, there was nothing typical about Sage. His red-orange hair and hazel eyes shouldn"t have been a combination that worked, but it most certainly did. His hearty laugh, incessant drive, and unflappable focus, along with his need to protect those who were weaker than himself, had drawn me in almost immediately after we"d first explored our off-the-charts chemistry. But it was his ability to smile despite everything that had happened in his young life that had made me realize that my connection to Sage went well beyond attraction and sexual compatibility.
Above all else, though, it had been his acceptance of what I"d needed from our relationship that had made me realize I was so deeply in love with the man that I no longer knew how to look at us as two separate entities anymore. And I had no doubt that my feelings were returned, though I was going on instinct rather than concrete proof.
Which was how I knew that, despite his obsession with Ronan"s young IT girl, Sage was mine and always would be.
It was another five minutes before Sage finally got around to saying, "So Daisy wasn"t what I expected."
I smiled to myself but kept my expression neutral.
"How so"" I asked, though I knew very well what he meant. We"d both made assumptions about the young woman after we"d talked to her on the phone and after Sage had managed to coax some tidbits of information out of her, giving us some insight into her life.
For starters, she was young" very young. At nearly forty myself, I knew I was almost twenty years her senior. I"d felt like an old man after pursuing Sage who was twelve years younger than me, but with Daisy I"d positively be a lecher.
What the hell was I even thinking"
Despite her youth, the young woman seemed to be very much alone in this world, though technically as an employee of Ronan Grisham, she would never really be alone. Sage himself was pretty talented when it came to computers and he"d managed to dig up some information on the girl who, up until today, we"d only ever heard through the muffled speaker of a cell phone. The product of a single mother, Daisy had been left alone in the world three years earlier after her mother had been raped and murdered by two men who"d frequented the restaurant the woman had worked at. Daisy had barely been eighteen at the time and instead of trying to figure out how to move forward without the guidance of the one constant in her life, she"d gone seeking vengeance.
And she"d nearly paid for it with her life.
It was information Sage had found when he and Maverick "Mav" James had been helping Ronan sort through some of the files left by the previous IT resource, Benny. There"d been a file on Daisy, and Sage had studied it incessantly until he"d pieced together the facts. Daisy Washburne had once been a client of Ronan"s underground vigilante group, but somehow, she"d managed to join it. It didn"t take a genius to determine that her skills with a computer had gotten her the gig.
I guessed that it was the combination of Daisy"s vulnerability, talent, and drive that had caught Sage"s interest. The fact that she"d rebuffed his shameless attempts to flirt with her had likely been the reason he"d grown increasingly obsessed with the woman.
And I had to admit, I was finding myself more and more intrigued by the young hacker. And the fact that she looked nothing like the skinny goth girl I"d imagined did nothing but stir my interest.
With her long chestnut hair, curvy figure, and heart-shaped face, I"d been hard-pressed not to let Sage have a go at her.